The current experiment explored the effect of activating a counterfactual mind-set on the discussion of unique information and group judgment accuracy. Evidence suggests that a counterfactual mind-set is characterized by a focused, analytic mental state and, when activated at the group level, improves group judgment accuracy in the murder mystery paradigm (a hidden profile task). We hypothesized that the beneficial effect of the counterfactual mind-set would only help group problem-solving tasks if the mind-set had been activated at the group level, allowing the analytical mind-set to play out in an atmosphere of synergistic coordination. In contrast, if this highly focused mental state is activated at the individual level, it could impair group judgment quality because inwardly focused analytical individuals may fail to coordinate their behavior with other group members. Consistent with our hypothesis, activating a counterfactual mind-set at the individual level had a debilitating effect on the group judgment task, whereas activating a counterfactual mind-set at the group level had a facilitative effect, increasing information sharing, synergistic coordination and judgment accuracy.
Liljenquist, K., Adam Galinsky, and L. Kray. "Exploring the rabbit hole of possibilities by myself or with my group: The benefits and liabilities of activating counterfactual mind-sets for information sharing and group coordination." Journal of Behavioral Decision Making 17, no. 4 (October 2004): 263-279.
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